Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"No, we don't do that, not us"; "I cry every night over this American tragedy" -- your responses

Theories on the lack of outrage by the public: "No, we don't do that, not us."

As I noted last night, Katrina vanden Heuvel wondered where the outrage was about the latest torture revelataions. (KvH was co-hosting with Sam Seder on The Majority Report. She is the editor of The Nation.)

Erika: "No, we don't do that, not us. That's the attitude. No one wants to own what was done or own up to it. We shut our eyes and pretend like it's not happening. It's the pink elephant in the living room that we're all trying to ignore."

Ben: "I think part of the lack of reaction is due to timing. My father raised me to be committed to human rights. But when I mentioned this to him, my step-mother said, 'Oh, no, we don't talk about things like that during the holidays.' I think there's an element of that at play."

Aidan: "It's outrageous. But how can we be outraged when no one's expressing it. You feel it inside [the outrage] and you turn on the TV and all the blow hards who were so bothered by a presidential blow job are talking about . . . an 'attack' on Christmas. They use that nonsense to fill time and distract and divert."

Karl: "I just think that there's this attitude of 'I can't take anymore!' We're coming off the election which was a disaster, we're feeling hopeless and like no one listens and then this comes out and there's a feeling of 'I can't do anything about it.'"

Rob thinks the elections is a factor as well: "We're all so focused on that still. I know people care about Ohio. I agree [the] mainstream media should have covered it. But there's a line that you can cross where it becomes an obsession. I go to some sites and I've got Ohio non-stop. This is where I'm supposed to be getting my news, this is my haven. And they're so busy playing up the shock factor over Ohio, the outrage over [it], nonstop that there's little left to spare for anything else. I mean I'm supposed to be outraged by Ohio, I'm supposed to be outraged by Porter Goss [CIA director], outraged that Rush Limbaugh used a dirty word and therefore contact the FCC, outraged over this nonsense about 'Happy Holidays,' outraged over the Washington race for governor, outraged over, outraged over some Republican Congressional staff's [alleged] theft, outraged that we've passed 1300 dead American soldiers in Iraq, outraged that Time magazine has named George the man of the year, outraged that Wal-Mart sells guns or ammo or both but not Jon Stewart's book, outraged that Tim Roemer may leap frog over the other blogs' fair headed boy Simon Rosenberg to become DNC head, outraged seven times a day from some e-mailing about some nut job on the right saying something on TV, outraged over some 2001 Filner amendment, outraged over the possibility that MSNBC might hire Tucker Carlson and on the list goes. People, we're worn out over the elections. We want to stay active but every thing is an 'outrage' and people are running tabloid headlines on their blogs that scream 'Outrage!' over and over. It's too much. I'm glad Kat's Korner's been added. That really brightened up the site for me knowing that we could be 'on message' but have fun. And the Bush photos this morning made me laugh. But I'm not talking about sites in general. And I'm certainly not talking about Ohio with this site because there are days when Ohio is not even mentioned. But the others are becoming way too much. Every day I've got ten outrages facing me. Thanks for mentioning Interesting Times [] because it's been the other useful site to me lately. But these sites that are doing outrage, outrage ten times a day every day are just reducing the outrage factor for everything. We're tired, we're disappointed and everything from Rush saying a naughty word to torture in Iraq is somehow equal? It's just too much for me. I don't mind being walked through an article in NYT or learning about the Laura Flanders Show or something else but this nonstop outrage in the blogsphere is reducing everything to 'normal' by turning things like Rush's filthy mouth into 'outrage.'"

Maria: "You know what I think it is? The holidays. We're rushing around making our plans and maybe we're rushing to buy gifts and we're busy and it's hard to stay focused. I've got three kids, single parent, teacher and things are so hectic for me. I'm outraged by the abuse and I share that outrage in discussions but when I find someone who shurgs I'm not surprised. I wish that he or she would care but knowing my own schedule and obligations, I'm not surprised."

Brent: "How can we be outraged when we lived through four years of outrage? Bush has declared war on everything but the rich. It's gotten to the point that it's all so corrupt that it's almost become the norm."

Liang: "My parents are from Vietnam and I'm not surprised by the lack of outrage. When I bring up the torture the looks on people's faces is the same as when someone asks me about my family and I start talking about the torture from South Vietnam that my grandfather went through. People get this look on their face 'Sorry, I asked" or 'you're bumming me out' or 'well it's not my fault!' We don't like to accept the fact that our actions have consequences. If it were France torturing Iraqi prisoners we'd all be screaming and yelling. But we're Americans and we aren't supposed to do the things that we're doing in Iraq. We ignore the bombings of the hospitals, the attacks on journalists and we'll ignore the abuse and torture. Unless we can find a low level individual to blame it on. Then we're in happy happy mind set because it's not reflective of us, it's just a bad apple or two."

Jim: "It's this 'support our troops' b.s. It shuts down all discussion on anything. We're so busy sniffing the jocks of G.I.s to prove to the right that we're not anti-American or anti-military or whatever that we've painted ourselves into a corner. 'Well I support our troops but those bad apples that tortured ...' It's nonsense. I do not support torture. I do not support the repeated bombing of Falluja. I will not be forced into saying 'I support the troops' because the minute you do that and start becoming a cheerleader behind that slogan you've thrown out rationality. I am against torture. I am against this war. 'But you support the troops, right? You don't want them to die, right?' I don't want anyone to die. Iraqi, American, British, anyone. I want this nightmare over. And driving around with some stupid 'support our troops' bumpersticker is just idiotic. This isn't an athletic event. This is war and people are dying. On both sides. And we were taken into it under lies. I do not support this war."

Melody: "I feel guilty for saying this, but I'm not more concerned for the soldiers from this country than I am for the children in Iraq who are dying from malnutrition, bombings, bad water and all the other things going on. I feel boxed in and when I try to make these points people glare. It's like a big ruler's being waved and if I don't want to be slapped with it I either have to shut up or say 'Hey, who wants to put together a charity package to send to our troops?'
You can say, 'They had to go over there, they were following orders' but the fact of the matter is the abuse in the prison is following orders too. Where do you draw the line? I'm outraged that we're over there. I'm outraged that Iraqis are dying because we lied and said they had WMD. I'm outraged about so many things. But I feel so boxed in. And if I say what's on my mind, people start shushing me or glaring. I think we're past the point that anything will get better because we are over there. We never should have been. It's a bad marriage like 'Should This Marriage Be Saved' pointed out. At what point do we realize the destruction we are causing and will continue to cause in the so called name of freedom? It disgusts me. I can go online and find a few other people who feel the same but around me if I even express my concern for the children in Iraq some idiot starts screaming, 'You don't support our troops!'"

Kara: "We can't have a discussion because we let every logical concept be redefined to the point that it's all now upside down. What are we protesting? We're supposed to be outraged by the torture but then we're supposed to be so touched by some soldier's plight. We're supposed to be for freedom but we're supposed to be okay with the continued occupation of Iraq. I'm so sick of seeing the left suck up to the troops. If the war is wrong, it's wrong. That's basic logic. So people need to stop playing cheerleaders and setting themselves up to be the next Bob Hope for this era. Jane Fonda worked with the G.I. coffehouse movement during Vietnam but she never felt the need to go around saying of soldiers in Vietnam, 'You guys are so great!' She worked for ending the war and we're all so scared about what someone might say about us that we keep trying to prove we love the soldiers and admire them and support them and stand behind them but (little voice from a corner) we just hate the war. That last part gets lost every time. This adminstration rallies like no other. Their sudden concern about the plight of Afghan women was one of the pretexts for boming Afghanistan. Does anyone remember why we bombed? Afghanistan wouldn't turn over bin Laden. They didn't say, 'We will never turn him over.' They asked to see the proof that he was responsible. We didn't give any proof, we just went to war. Is bin Laden responsible? I'm still waiting for that proof we were promised three years ago to emerge. I won't hold my breath though. I'm not saying he's innocent. I'm saying that the administration has stage managed us so well that we don't even ask for proof. We just go wherever they point us. And we let ourselves be co-opted. Life isn't better for most women in Afghanistan. But we don't talk about that anymore because now we're focused on the latest hat trick Bush is doing. I am against this war. I will not play cheerleader. I do not respect the people who do. This war is wrong and illegal."

Domnick: "How can you get outraged? If you try someone screams that you hate the soliders. So we've learned to internalize our rage."

Shondra: "It's because this isn't happening to people. This is happened to the dark skinned savage that Bush and company have done such a good job creating. Somewhere we've forgotten that we're all people and instead it's okay because we're in a 'war' against terror, or it's okay because we're bringing them freedom. See they're dark skinned so they're not smart enough to bring their own freedom. We have to give it to them even if that means forcing them into it, even if that means bombing them into submission. We've turned the citizens of Iraq into savages or children that need our harsh discpline. After that reduction, there's now way that we're going to care."

Your personal outrage: "I cry every night over this American tragedy"

Kara: "I cry every night over this American tragedy. We're destroying a people, we've robbed them of their history and culture. And we've robbed ourselves of our humanity. This is our tragedy and we bear responsibility for it. The smart thing to do would be start shutting down the prisons and getting out of that country to allow their people there to make their own path.
We won't do that which only means I cry harder."

Ben: 'It makes me angry and disgusts [me]. This is not what the United States is supposed to be about. We've betrayed all the aspirations we were supposed to strive for."

Russell: "I'm outraged and I say so and refuse to let anyone silence me. When someone even tries it makes me more outraged because you can't not look at what you've caused. We're responsible for this, everyone of us. That includes me."

Erika: "I try to channel my rage. I write my senators who ignore me and send me a form letter about some other issue that usually closes with 'Please contact me anytime you have
a concern.' I keep writing. Hoping that maybe tomorrow a few more will write and that at some point the person keeping track of the mail will say, 'Senator, your state has turned agains this war.' I think that will happen but I worry it will be some time off in the future."

Gore Vidal Is God: "The stain on our country spreads across my heart and seeps into my soul."

Keesha: "I feel outraged into silence, forced into silence by a media that will not report on people who feel like I do and think like I do. The Times didn't just forget to include the voice of a third of a public, they silenced it. They are trying to manage us and I feel like, as one person, I have little power."

Francisco: "I feel things that I feel I am not allowed to feel [,] things society does not want me to feel and they do not want me to express."

Betsy: "I feel like Kat does, things are so plastic. My outrage is real and genuine but I'm stuck in a plastic world of phoney media, phoney singers and phoney people who say they believe in Jesus but want to ignore that he was called 'the Prince of Peace.'"

Brad: "I feel the outrage boiling over and poisoning my soul."

Trey: "I feel mad but don't feel that it makes a damn difference. The Democrats have gone along with the Republicans on everything. No one's listening to the people."

Abhilasha: "I feel very angry and very sad. I feel reduced and made small, rendered insignificant."

Alabama: "I feel like banging my head against the wall and that it's all to the point that nothing makes a difference. I did sign the ACLU petition []."

Gary: "I feel like I'll try to bring this up at Christmas but no one will listen and it will be one long argument like Thanksgiving. My aunt will scream, 'You just hate our president!' and I will scream back, 'You just love torture!'"

Rolando: "I feel angry and hurt and like this is all something we've caused so it hurts all the more."

Julia: "I feel I'm living a Laura Nyro song: 'I'm mad at my country and I've been treated bad/ When I was a Freeport and you were the main drag.' I find an outlet in songs and metaphors but there seems no language available to express the internal outrage that boils inside me."

Bernardo: "I feel outraged and alone. I feel that the world has turned against us because of our actions but we either don't care or we don't realize that. Even Tony Blair [England's Prime Minister] is drifting away from us. But we won't admit reality. I feel that we've passed a point that we could discuss this rationally as a nation. And that makes me even sadder."

Dean: "I feel very angry that this was done in my name. I feel very angry that people are not yelling at the top of their lungs that this has to stop. I feel our democracy is decaying and dying."